Why Setting Personal Boundaries May Be Difficult, But Why You Need To Start Implementing Them Now
As a mom, a wife, family member, and business owner having boundaries that I stick to – with all of my might – has become an essential if not the most important part of self-care. But just like for many of us, especially women, boundaries are something I did not set, nor enforced until a few years ago, which led to many touchy situations that could have been avoided.
While I am stating that, I want to add some caution. If you are in an abusive relationship, emotionally or physically, don’t try to set boundaries, instead, find a way to get out of the relationship, get away, disconnect and rebuild a ritual of self-care once you (and your kids) are safe.The Why And How Of Setting Personal Boundaries #selfcare Click To Tweet
Why is it so difficult to set clear personal boundaries?
We are conditioned to please others, yet this is rather an unhealthy and unnecessary habit that needs no longer be accepted. Pleasing others, above one self, has nothing to do with service, but it is a self-sacrifice, that invites an unequal relationship, that can be taken advantage of, by whoever chooses so. May it be children, spouse or in-laws, boundaries are often widely overstepped, if left unchecked.
We assume that others will respect our boundaries, even if we never expressed them. Another point I want to impress upon is, that we often assume that others would accept and follow along with our boundaries, even though we never clearly stated them, or defined them. Even if not done in malice, those who are in a relationship with you, don’t know what you don’t express clearly, and therefore it is not only not fair to you, but not fair to them to not be clear what your boundaries are.Why Setting Personal Boundaries May Be Difficult, But Why You Need To Start Implementing Them… Click To Tweet
We expect others to acknowledge our boundaries, simply because we want them to. Let’s say you have implied your likes, dislikes, and habits, and think that others will consider them as important as you may feel that they are – I have to disappoint you, that some will not. The reality is, some people will not find personal boundaries and self-care of others as important as you might, and therefore overstep them, or at least push them to their limits if they have not been stated clearly.
We are taught – still, and that in my opinion is a sad state – to put our own needs behind others, and the truth is, others will take advantage of those who put others first. As I mentioned in my first point, that is not service but an unnecessary self-sacrifice that will lead to the point where you can no longer take care of anyone, sooner or later, due to burnout and health problems.
We are often not taught how to communicate our individual needs in a non-threatening or non-confrontational manner. Setting boundaries improves our communication skills, as well as our interpersonal skills, and sets a great example for our kids
How to set clear and precise personal boundaries
Become clear about your non-negotiable boundaries to yourself, and write them down. Take your time with this process and make sure that your list includes all of the individuals you interact with often. Those boundaries may vary greatly from person to person, so be precise. You can use your journal or any private notebook for this exercise.
Sit down with the individual if possible – or if you feel this option would be safer – in a group environment, to discuss your need for boundaries in a non-blameful conversational style. In some instances, a group environment is the better choice, especially if this is your first conversation of that kind with your family or friends.
Explain the benefits for the entire family unit as a result of observing boundaries. Showcasing how their lives would improve by them accepting and keeping your boundaries, is an important factor of motivation.
Make sure you repeat those boundaries when someone steps on them. Mentioning your boundaries once seldom makes a large difference. After all, it is easier to fall back into old habits, than keeping new ones. Keep in mind that any misstep is often only an honest mistake, so keep your reactions cool, and to the point.
Demonstrate that you can keep other people’s boundaries – including those of your children – which is important – as a part of the deal! If you are setting your personal boundaries, make sure that you communicate clearly, that others are also allowed to keep their own kinds of non-negotiables, and allow them the same freedom of self-expression, that you just received. State this as clearly as possible, to avoid any miscommunication or potential hurt feelings.
Question: Have you deciphered and communicated clear boundaries with those you often share space with? If not, why not?